Birthplace Effects on the Development of Female Athletic Talent
Macdonald, Dany J.
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This study examined the extent to which an athlete's place of birth can influence the likelihood of playing professional sport. Information regarding the birthplace of all American female athletes in the Ladies Professional Golf Association and Women's United Soccer Association was gathered from official league websites. Monte Carlo simulations were used to determine if the birthplace of these professional athletes differed in any systematic way from official census population distributions. Odds-ratios were determined for cities within specific population ranges to ascertain if the likelihood of playing professional sport was influenced in any systematic way by city size. The analyses revealed that female professional soccer players born in cities of less than 1,000,000 were over-represented, as were female professional golfers born in cities of less than 250,000. Results are consistent with those of male professional athletes in suggesting that areas of lower population provide conditions more conducive to the development of expertise than do larger city environments.